The Gregory Zuroski Memorial Bookcrawl 2016 was, compared to last year’s, a more laid-back affair: mostly a chance to revisit favorite shops, though we did stop in one new place (Art Metropole). But, while I wasn’t propelled by 2015’s spirit of adventure, I was able to ease into a relaxed day of browsing in several beloved spaces in Toronto, making plenty of discoveries along the way.
Initial caffeination: Cafe Oranje
There’s a lot of good coffee in Hamilton, but Oranje is usually most convenient for me, as well as dearest to my heart. I also found two completed coffee cards in my wallet, so the americano and flat white were on the house! In my book, this makes Chris and his cafe official sponsors of the Bookcrawl. Cafe Oranje is right next door to J.H. Gordon Books, a lovely shop that was not yet open for the day when we stopped for coffee, but which had in its window display an early contender for Best Title of the day:
Stop 1: Type Books
We began last year’s crawl here and saw no reason not to do it again, despite the risk of blowing our entire day’s budget on new books. We were, I must say, remarkably restrained, given that I wanted dozens, perhaps hundreds, of titles on these shelves. Here’s what we did walk out with:
Robert Walser, Looking at Pictures
Gary Lutz, The Gotham Grammarian
Eka Kurniawan, Beauty Is a Wound
Natasha Stagg, Surveys
Palmer Brown, Cheerful
Maurice Sendak, In the Night Kitchen
And one non-book gift, detailed later.
Coffee break: White Squirrel
The cashier at Type had a host of recommendations when we asked whether there was a good place nearby to grab a cup of coffee; this one was described as “right there, good, and cheaper” compared to the place across the street, where the coffee was “French, and very strong.” Normally I’d be happy to linger over a very strong, very French cup, but we had crawling to do, so we just grabbed two coffees to go from White Squirrel.
Stop 2: Art Metropole
This was the one new bookstore on our 2016 itinerary. Given the price of art books, I was prepared not to buy anything, but it turned out to be a delightful place to browse smaller books and chapbooks, and we walked out with a bronze-level membership badge as well as these:
Yuichi Yokoyama, Ourselves
Joshua Thorpe & Emily Smit-Dicks, The Unexpected
Moyra Davey, The Wet and the Dry (The Social Life of the Book #2)
Pablo was holding the fort at the lab since D was bookcrawling for the day, so we brought pizza over. Artichokes, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and garlic oil. Highly recommended.
Stop 3: The Monkey’s Paw
Along with Type Books, The Monkey’s Paw was a highlight of last year’s crawl. And Stephen remembered us from last year! Yet again, the titles populating the shelves, tables, and windows were the stuff of poetry. “More Titles Observed in The Monkey’s Paw Bookshop: Another Found Poem”:
Dr. Chase’s Recipes or Information for Everybody. Trees We Should Know. Canoes and Canoeing. Toronto, No Mean City. Trampolining Illustrated. A General History of Quadrupeds. Warm and Snug: A History of the Bed. The Meaning of Marxism. Cricket: The Silver Lining. The Nine Bad Shots of Golf. Blasters’ Handbook. Neolithic Dew-Ponds and Cattle-Ways. Care of Game Meat and Trophies. Furs, Glamorous and Practical. Attaining Manhood. Saddle, Sled and Snowshoe. Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance. Minimal Rationality. All About Goats. Short Talks with Young Mothers. How to Improve Your Tap Dancing. Modern Sex Methods. In-Laws: Pro & Con.
Here are the ones we actually bought:
Max Ernst, The Hundred Headless Woman
John Ashbery, Reported Sightings
The Penguin John Lennon
Silvina Ocampo, Leopoldina’s Dream
John Baxter, The Cinema of Josef von Sternberg
Coffee break: Starbucks
A key feature of the Greg Zuroski Memorial Bookcrawl is the Starbucks doppio espresso con panna. And so.
Stop 4: Eliot’s
When I envision the categorical “used bookstore,” these days Eliot’s is what comes to my mind. (Other shops that have served in this capacity include Fayetteville’s Dickson Street Bookshop and Providence’s Cellar Stories.) The very first thing that caught my eye on the literature shelves this time was an omnibus edition of one of my dad’s very favorite series, Michael Bond’s Monsieur Pamplemousse mysteries.
There were also some gems of title and cover on the “Discovery Exploration” shelf downstairs.
Here’s what we walked out with:
Michael Bond, Monsieur Pamplemousse Omnibus, Vol. 1
Amara Lakhous, Divorce Islamic Style
John Williams, Butcher’s Crossing
Allen Ginsberg, Mind Breaths
Stop 5: The Beguiling
D reads a lot more comics than I do, and thus he has spent more time in this shop than I have. But it’s a great store, and I was enticed to purchase a book totally unknown to me in every way simply because it had an ice cream come punching another ice cream cone on the cover, and the opening comic on poodles made me laugh out loud.
Andrea Tsurumi, Why Would You Do That?
Frank Santoro and Kurt Ankeny, The Santoro School’s Handbook for Making Better Comics
Stop 6: Little Island Comics
This is one of my favorite bookstores, and one of the best children’s bookstores I’ve ever been in. It’s very convenient, I find, to have a child for whom to buy books in a place like this. Here’s what we picked up for Rooby:
Art Baltazar & Franco, Tiny Titans: Adventures in Awesomeness
john & jana, A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy
Stop 7: Kops Records
According to last year’s precedent, if a record store just happens to be in the Bookcrawl route, one may, nay must, stop for a record. I picked up a copy of Blondie’s Autoamerican with the original price sticker.
Haul of Fame Award, for most books purchased: Type Books (6 books)
Holy Grail Award, for offering up a rare title that has been on a wish list for longer than one can remember: The Monkey’s Paw, for Max Ernst’s The Hundred Headless Woman, which D has been looking for “forever.” At $85, this book also earned The Monkey’s Paw the Second Mortgage award for most expensive single purchase.
Piggybank Award, for least expensive purchase: Really, no one earned this award, as we did not pick up anything that could be called cheap. But, technically, the least expensive purchased title of the day was Moyra Davey’s The Wet and the Dry, a $7 pamphlet, and since we purchased a membership we got an additional 25% off…so—against the odds—Art Metropole wins the award.
Chapters Award, for most/best non-book accoutrements: Type Books, where I could not resist picking up a “finger tentacle” for cephalopod-bro Jackie.
Serendipity Award, for best find you didn’t know you were looking for: Little Island Comics, for A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy, which I’d never heard of but loved so much when I caught sight of it on my way out of the store that I went back to the counter to buy it. Runner-up: The Beguiling, for Why Would You Do That?
Good Hunting Award, for best title you did know you were looking for: There were several contenders, but since The Hundred Headless Woman already took the Holy Grail Award, this one goes to Eliot’s for John Williams’s Butcher’s Crossing. This was the only title I’d actually written down on my List of Books to Look For, but I’d absent-mindedly noted the author as John Miller, so I was looking for it on the wrong shelves. And then at Eliot’s, having been disappointed yet again in the M section, I found it staring me straight in the eye in the Ws.
Baseball Haiku Award, for purchase of a book there’s a chance we already own (origin of this award explained toward the end of last year’s post): The Monkey’s Paw, for John Baxter’s The Cinema of Josef von Sternberg, which D is pretty sure we don’t already have.
Second Take Award, a variation on the Baseball Haiku Award, for re-purchase of a book we definitely own but cannot find at home: Type Books, for In the Night Kitchen, which one year ago was Rooby’s favorite book but has since been misplaced, and which I was astonished to find she did not remember when I presented her with the new copy (though she was equally captivated by it, and made me read it three times in a row).
WWGD (What Would Greg Do?) Award, for title that my dad would have purchased without even thinking about it, whether or not he already owned it: Eliot’s, for the Monsieur Pamplemousse Omnibus.
Collector’s Compulsion Award, for title that we can’t not buy because we have to buy anything by this author (or in this series, determined by any criteria) we come across: Art Metropole, for Yuichi Yokoyama’s Ourselves.
Title-ation Award, for best title spotted: As always, The Monkey’s Paw is to be recognized for general excellence in this category, but since I find it impossible to isolate individual titles at The Monkey’s Paw from the sea of wonders, the award goes to J.H. Gordon Books for SEX in the Garden.
And that’s #Bookcrawl16!